The Ocean Blue, Seven Saturdays, Western Lows, DJ Curt of The Bixby Knolls

The Ocean Blue

The Ocean Blue‘s debut record on the famed Sire Records label in 1989 achieved widespread acclaim and radio & MTV airplay. The band of four young high schoolers from Hershey, Pennsylvania went on to do two more well-received records for Sire, the atmospheric Cerulean and alt pop Beneath the Rhythm and Sound, and a fourth record for Mercury/PolyGram, See The Ocean Blue, before leaving the majors in the late 90s. The band did several independent releases in the 2000s, including Davy Jones Locker and Waterworks, and within the last several years began working on a new full length record, their first in over 10 years. That record, entitled Ultramarine, is scheduled for release March 19, 2013 on Korda Records, a new Minneapolis cooperative label that the band helped launch in late 2012.

Ultramarine is a spectacular return to form that recalls the band’s earliest work, and should appeal to fans old and new alike.

On the title, singer/songwriter David Schelzel explains, "We chose Ultramarine to reflect several things. The mood of this record is a little blue, and harkens back to our other "blue" record, Cerulean. It's also a fun play on our name, and we were very conscious of our history as a band making this record. Thinking about our music, what it's meant to us and others. Asking a lot of existential questions about the band, what it was, is, and could be in the future."

Ultramarine was recorded in Minneapolis, MN, Portland, OR, and Mt Gretna, PA over several years, with Schelzel and drummer Peter Anderson producing. "This record unfolded in slow motion,” says Schelzel, “At a glacial pace. We were not on the clock we were when we were on the major labels. And we were not in an insulated studio world for months making the music. We made it mostly in our own studios, on our own time. Regular life drifted into this one more than our earlier records.”

Music recording and distribution, and the social networks of the Web have changed the landscape completely since the band’s last full length. Says Anderson, “We are using gear and technology on the recording side that for the most part didn’t exist when the band was making big budget studio records in the 90s. It’s allowed us to do a lot of things we’d never been able to do years ago, all at a much cheaper cost. We also have the ability to connect with people directly via the Web that wasn’t really there when we did our last release."

Musically, the new record is a return to form for the band. As well as a new beginning. Lyrically it is romantic, melancholic and impressionistic. The melodic singing, chimey guitars and lush keyboards the band is known for weave their way through the songs. Even the saxophone has returned on the opening track. But it is a record full of music that sounds very of the moment.

"It's an interesting time for us to be putting out a new record. So much of the music we see and hear now reminds me of things I loved growing up," say guitarist Oed Ronne. "My friends in their twenties like The Smiths and New Order. It's a strange thing, but good for us I think. We'd love to reconnect with our old fans, but also make new ones among the ranks of the young."

"I'm really looking forward to sharing this new music with people who know us and people who’ve never heard us before. And play some shows," says bass player Bobby Mittan. "It's been way too long."

Seven Saturdays

Mulholland Drive, malt scotch, Edinburgh Scotland and Christmas trees may not seem like they have a lot in common, but in the case of Jonathan D. Haskell, orchestrator and multi-instrumentalist for the band, Seven Saturdays, they are the landscape for his cinematic orchestra.

A native Angeleno, Jonathan D. Haskell has spent years working and re-working the subtle melodic nuances that have become the headphone-centric Seven Saturdays. Conceived walking the cobblestone streets of Edinburgh while sipping scotch, Haskell accepted his inescapable fate of never leaving Los Angeles and his impending return. With that, Seven Saturdays embody his love / hate relationship with said city.

"I became more interested in how music made me feel and became a bit more selfish in the type of sounds I wanted to record. I mostly listen to music in my car, and the sounds that moved me the most occurred late at night while driving around the steep slopes and sharp curves of Mulholland Drive. There's nothing like that winding road at midnight... the ebb and flow of swirling tones pouring out from all angles leaves you with a renewed sense of focus and direction."

Seven Saturdays is a direct result of this renewed energy and a reaction to growing up and feeling trapped in Los Angeles. "There is no escaping this city. If you're born here, even if you move away, its impact is always brewing just below the surface."

Seven Saturdays was recorded, produced and mixed by Haskell and Daniel Farris (St. Vincent, The Black Pill) in the shadowy confines of downtown Los Angeles. And contributing everything from heart-pulled strings, down tempo beats, delicate keyboards and distant voices, Seven Saturdays comprises an impressive list of talented musicians including: Lester Nuby (Verbena, Terra Naomi), Morgan Grace Kibby (M83), Mike Garson (David Bowie, Smashing Pumpkins) and Eric Heywood (The Pretenders, Ray LaMontagne).

Initially Seven Saturdays was Haskell's side project, to be kept completely separate from his intricate baby — FIRS, the moniker under which the 10" single "New Hope In Soft Light" was released earlier this year. But as both projects began to mirror themselves in sound and scope, combining FIRS with Seven Saturdays proved to create a more defined vision. Seven Saturdays' eponymous EP is the first release, combining the two projects into one cohesive sound.

Western Lows

Western Lows didn't form. Not all at once anyway. The project came into being slowly, in fits and starts, over the course of 2011 - a year that found Jack Burnside at loose ends, bouncing between a collection of Los Angeles practice spaces, apartments and home studios as he wrote and demoed the material that would eventually make up Glacial, Western Lows' debut LP.

Spring of 2012 saw Burnside travel to Athens, GA to record with Andy LeMaster (Now It's Overhead, Bright Eyes, R.E.M.) at Chase Park Transduction. Tasked with creating a sound, as opposed to capturing one, the pair spent weeks working into and oftentimes past the small hours of the night. Finish lines inched slowly backwards as the scope of the recording expanded.

Glacial combines the hushed intimacy of Burnside's compositions with the wide screen panoramic sweep of LeMaster's production to striking effect. Echoes of Yo La Tengo, Mazzy Star and even The Cure are present; the record's sonic space seems almost physical, a sort of gauzy dreamworld - dawn or gloaming, depending on how you look at it.

Live, Burnside is joined by Julien Bellin (Polls) and Michael Orendy (Frankel, Meow Meow).

$15.00

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The Ocean Blue, Seven Saturdays, Western Lows, DJ Curt of The Bixby Knolls

Saturday, October 26 · Doors 8:30 PM / Show 9:00 PM at The Satellite